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Cross-border mobilities in old age. Limitations, de-limitations and (new) boundaries
Mittwoch, 16.03.2022:
14:00 - 16:00

Virtueller Veranstaltungsort: Zoom Seminarraum 31
937 9854 4993, 057582
8. Sozialpädagogik und Pädagogik der frühen Kindheit, Sektion 8, Kommission Sozialpädagogik, qualitativ, theoretisch, Englisch

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Cross-border mobilities in old age. Limitations, de-limitations and (new) boundaries

Chair(s): Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schweppe (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Deutschland), Dr. Vincent Horn (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Deutschland)

Cross-border mobilities in old age challenge the prevalent concept of “aging in place” in social pedagogical debates. Social pedagogy has increasingly turned to cross-border mobilities, however, these mobilities in old age have largely been ignored. Subsequently, their life situation and life worlds remain at the margins of research. This working group focuses on two cross-border mobilities in old age: Older refugees and older people who migrate from affluent countries to countries of the “Global South”. It addresses the life circumstances and lifeworlds in their cross-border entanglements and will be focussed from the perspective of difference and border processing. What differences and inequalities come into effect in cross-border life situations of older people, how they are they coped, and what de-limitations and limitations they imply are questions at its centre. It aims at expanding social pedagogical research on addressees in cross-border contexts by questions of old age.


Beiträge des Panels


Rethinking Mobility Regimes: North-South Migration and Ageing in Global Perspective

Prof. Dr. Matthew Hayes
St. Thomas University, Canada

This paper explores the mobilities turn in the social sciences from the vantage point of unequal global social relations, manifested in the North-South migration of older European and North American adults to countries in the Global South. These migrations are interacting with changing economic conditions for retirees in the Global North. The experiences of North-South migrants provide a window into global regimes of mobility that implicate borders and stratified systems of rights. What do these experiences tell us about the concept of mobility, its analytical limitations, and the possibilities for other concepts that draw our attention to structuring forces of global mobility of people? The paper identifies concepts and approaches that centre global social relations, and rethinks existing scholarship on migration, coloniality and development to include the experiences of migrants from the Global North. The experiences of mobile older adults from Global North to Global South draws our attention to inherited structures that shape the actions of migrants and border regimes, and which are often overlooked in migration scholarship. Looking at experiences of relatively privileged migrants enable us to revise some of our concepts and better understand contemporary processes, which are modifying and contesting global hierarchies, while also shifting the life experiences and opportunities for aging adults in high-income countries.


Devaluation, romanticizing, pity. Making sense of poverty-stricken life worlds of the local population within retirement migration to Kenya

Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schweppe
Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Deutschland

A distinctive feature of retirement migration destinations in countries of the Global South is that global asymmetries and inequalities converge directly in one geographic location and are a core element of the immediate environment of the retirement migrants. This is particularly evident in the case retirement migration to the South Coast of Kenya, which has developed into a prominent retirement migration destination, particularly among Europeans. The life situation of the local population is marked by extreme poverty. Based on narrative-guided interviews with European retirement migrants the paper explores the significance is has for them to live in an environment marked by severe poverty-stricken life conditions of the local population. It will show how these different life worlds cause diverse irritations, strains, sometimes even crises, and how they are coped with by specific interpretive patterns. Devaluations of the local population including ascriptions of intellectual or cultural inferiority, romanticizing poverty and feeling pity for the local population are three major patterns - each of which significantly affects their lives in migration socially and emotionally.


“Back and forth, I have been displaced". Older East Timorese exiles in Indonesia and the reconfiguration of later-life across social worlds

Dr. Victoria Kumala Sakti
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen

Older persons’ experiences in the context of forced migration have become an emerging research agenda in the social sciences. These studies have primarily focused on those living in ‘Western’ and more developed countries but less so on older refugees in the ‘global south’. This paper examines the case of older East Timorese exiles living in rural Indonesia. It draws on long-term ethnographic research that carefully examines this group’s displacement trajectories from Timor-Leste to Indonesia, the protractedness of exile and how that affects everyday life, and the specific challenges they face amid poor living conditions and social exclusion. Older persons’ narratives often include their longer histories of suffering and multiple experiences of forced displacement. This paper discusses these in light of how older East Timorese remake their world, their resources and strategies in coping with economic and (mental) health-related issues, and how they experience intergenerational family relations within and across national borders. While revealing the diversity of experiences as well as gendered dimensions of ageing in Timorese exile, the paper also problematizes conventional definitions of ‘protracted displacement’ and the assumption relegating older refugees or exiles as non-viable resource and passive recipients of care.


Loneliness among older refugees in Germany

Dr. Vincent Horn1, Prof. Dr. Tineke Fokkema2
1Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Deutschland, 2Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute & Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

During the last years, Germany has been the major destination country for refugees in Europe. Since 2013, more than 1.8 million asylum applications have been filed, most of them from individuals from the Middle East and Africa. Owing to various factors (e.g. loss of family and friends, lack of social networks, loss of job or career, loss of identity), refugee populations can be seen as particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. However, the psychosocial well-being of recently arrived refugees in Germany has thus far received little academic attention. This holds especially true for older refugees who seem to be off the radar of scholars of ageing and migration as well as of policy makers and practitioners. This paper seeks to narrow this research gap by asking for the prevalence and determinants of loneliness among older refugees in Germany. To address these questions, it explores data from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in Germany from 2016. The sample covers nearly 2,000 adult refugees who arrived in Germany since 2013 seeking asylum. Theoretically, the paper builds on an integration-transnationalism framework according to which loneliness is influenced not only by local but also transnational dimensions.

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